The fighting in Lebanon between Israeli forces and Hezbollah continues today, seemingly unabated. Meanwhile, the US and French governments continue to try to hash out a deal that could ultimatley lead to a cease-fire in the region. With the continued bombing of southern Lebanon, there is a growing need for humanitarian intervention.
The problem is that Israeli forces continue to refuse to grant authorization to UN forces to deliver food and aid to those who desperately need it. This seems to confirm theories circulating on the Internet that Israel is not just interested in getting their two soldiers released by Hezbollah, but rather their desire to “punish” the Lebanese people for the actions of a few terrorists. Much has been said already concerning the disproportionate response by Israeli forces and the almost total destruction of several Lebanese towns. Beirut continues to targeted by the IDF in the form of bombs and artillery shelling. If the fighting continues without a cease-fire resolution, there is the potential for several thousand more deaths of Lebanese civilians. Those not already killed by the shelling of Beirut and other towns are now dying of starvation, lack of medical care, and lack of water.
The growing humanitarian crisis in south Lebanon needs decisive leadership from the US to stop the fighting at all costs. I wholly reject Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s assertion that we need to let the fighting continue until a “comprehensive, long-term” cease-fire agreement is reached. People are dying in this region of the Middle East. Israeli civilians are dying as well, however at much lower numbers than Lebanese civilians. Our country’s first priority needs to be to stop the fighting at all costs. A comprehensive solution to the current situation can be negotiated at a later date. If nothing else, President Bush and Secretary Rice need to use their influence to at least allow UN aid convoys into the area to feed and provide medical care to those who need it most. This conflict has grown in size from being about 2 kidnapped soldiers into a possible illegal occupation of Lebanon by Israeli forces.
I remember back in 1991, just a few months before I enlisted in the Marine Corps, a certain Middle Eastern country’s leader took it upon himself to invade a sovereign nation. Back then, the US response was swift and decisive. For the most part, we accomplished our goal of forcing that country’s army to pull back from the country it invaded. Of course, the conflict back then involved oil, but it could have just as easily been lied about spun to be about kidnapped soliders. This analogy is slightly flawed though, and I acknowledge that. But my point is that Israel has violated Lebanon’s sovereignty by invading their airspace and advancing into the country. The response to this by other countries in the world has been less than apropriate if you ask me.
Something needs to be done to help the innocent in this conflict. Will the US be the ones to do it, or will we shirk our responsibility for helping to advance human rights and continue blindly supporting Israel?